Kenny Dillingham the Oregon OC stood up and showed himself to be the real Slim Shady with his mix of play calling. The Ducks offense marched to the beat of the Dillingham play mix and was lethal. I suppose Arizona DC Johnny Nansen must have been thinking early (“we’re gonna have a problem here.”)
Oregon on its second drive established the run game with three straight runs, as Dillingham then mixed in a pass to Moliki Matavao, before Noah Whittington busted off a 55-yard TD run. On the Ducks next possession, the run game established earlier set up Dillingham to dial up a 42-yard Bo Nix pass to Kris Hutson, finishing on the Wildcats one yard line. (Notice Hutson didn’t showboat?)
Dillingham’s Ducks offense really hit its groove as it put together its third straight TD drive. Three runs set up a beautiful Nix pass to Chase Cota for an over the shoulder grab. Two more runs and passes kept the balanced drive together and finishing in the end zone.
For those Duck fans who might not get the Slim Shady reference, Dillingham would go full War Pigs on Arizona to cap the Ducks 4th straight TD drive to end the half. Dillingham broke out the Ducks Josh 14 power formation. This formation had five-star freshman Josh Conerly Jr as the sixth lineman and three tight ends. Oregon ran another true freshman Jordan James four times in a row from the Arizona 19-yard line for the Ducks last TD of the first half.
Everyone in sold out Arizona Stadium knew what was coming. Dillingham seemingly tired of playing with the Cats, decided to dare them to stop what they knew was coming. The Ducks OC has some Slim Shady in him in, flexing up in Arizona’s face and running right over them. He sent a message into the locker room with Arizona for halftime!
Dillingham would continue to mix his plays to his own beat to start the second half with Inside zone runs, passes over the middle, and a sideline pass. Nix, after having a steak of 14 straight completions snapped, would scramble to convert a third and ten. Noah Whittington would run straight ahead to set the Ducks up first and goal. Dillingham would cap the drive with a Josh 14 QB sneak TD run for Nix. He really showed off his play calling swagger on this drive, just in case we had forgotten his play calls during the half.
The Ducks defense on the next series would come up with an interception. The Oregon offense would convert that into a four play 39-yard TD drive. With 9:44 left in the third quarter the Ducks would lead 41-13. Dillingham once again led the Ducks offense to a Chip Kelly Era performance that would put the game away early.
The Zona Zoo student section that was buzzing to start the game, had experienced a full-on bad-trip coming down off their pregame high. The sellout crowd started to thin early and head for the exits. Dillingham snatched the dream of Arizona fans storming the field after upsetting the Ducks. (he didn’t just snatch it, he crushed it Shady style)
This Dillingham offense is fun for Duck fans to watch. He attacks to all parts of the field in the run and pass games, and he mixes that during the drives. Screens, 10-yard crosses, deep posts, and that sweet outside shoulder fade to Cota up the sideline. Just the same he attacked inside, off tackle and to the sideline with the run game. He promised an offense that attacks all part of the field in space, and he’s delivered.
The key to the Ducks offense is Bo Nix,. as he is playing at a level he has never shown, and bloomed into the five-star he was supposed to be. Matter of fact there is some Slim Shady in Nix too. He is comfortable in this offense; he runs it like a general. His pre-snap reads are so good that he is making the game easy. A great example was on a third down when the Cats brought a linebacker on the blitz, Nix just hit the TE over the middle in the spot the linebacker vacated to convert the first down. (easy peasy)
About that Shady in Nix? Well, he certainly plays like “he doesn’t give a…” We have seen him all season long throwing blocks for his running backs, and he’s lowered his head and taken on tacklers to convert first downs or score TDs. How about last week on the defensive return of what turned out to not be a fumble by Seven McGee. There was Nix cutting the runners legs at the sidelines and his helmet flying off! If that style of play doesn’t show some Slim Shady saying “I don’t give a…” well then, I don’t know what does.
Nix would finish his night just seconds into the fourth quarter, but what a night it was. He would run eight times for 70-yards and 3 touchdowns, while going 20-25 passing for 265-yards in another startling performance for the Ducks. Nix led the Ducks to 526-yards of offense in just over three quarters.
Bo Nix is Oregon’s best QB they have fielded since Marcus Mariota and Justin Herbert. Combined with the crafty play calling and ruthless approach of OC Kenny Dillingham, Duck fans are wondering how far this pair can take this team?
This Oregon team is squarely in the hunt for the Pac-12 title. We will all get a week off to catch our collective breath after this dazzling start to the season. Then Chip Kelly will bring his co-contending UCLA squad to Autzen in two weeks for an epic Pac-12 battle.
Duck fans, what do you think about the return of the explosive high scoring offense style at Oregon? Please share your thoughts in the OBD FORUM!
Top Photo by Joe Jackson Jr.
I was born a Cali kid and my uncle is a USC Alum. Remember going to an SC game when I was like 5 with him. I moved to Oregon in 77 when I was 6 and became a Duck fan long ago. I remember Reggie Ogburn OB days, so it was before the Ducks got good. I’ve been a sports nut since I was a kid.
I went to Tigard High about the same time as linebacker Jeremy Asher did, and I watched him team with Rich Ruhl on the inside of the Gang Green defense.
Lots of Ducks memories, Danny O’Neil’s passing in 1st Rose Bowl, Kenny Wheaton, Joey’s comebacks early in his career and how jacked up he got!
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